Merchant Navy service record research unexpectedly high National Archives

Discussion in 'Searching for Someone & Military Genealogy' started by jrf84, Jan 3, 2013.

  1. jrf84

    jrf84 Junior Member

    Before Christmas I asked the National Archives for an estimate to copy certain parts of a large document which contained MN Crew agreements for 3 ships.

    After reading a research document provided by P and O about CREW AGREEMENTS,I noticed that they may contain details about a sailor’s previous ship,before they joined the vessel they were joining.

    I'm doing this because the MN Service papers of my great uncle do not mention any ships by name until October 1945.I wanted to find out about Alan's war service as it would be nice to know what he actually did,even if it was very limited.

    I was therefore hopeful that the SS Empire Plover crew agreement would mention uncle Alan and possibly the ship he served on prior to October 1945 would also be recorded down.

    From my great uncle’s Merchant Navy record sheets it stated that he joined the ship Empire Plover known by its official number 168189 at Grangemouth in Scotland sometime around the 27th October 1945.
    He remained with the ship until 25th March 1946.

    Today I was shocked to see the estimate for the document sections I requested was £302!

    I stated that I only wanted Empire Plover's agreements,but I then felt irritated as I somehow knew I should have stuck to my original idea.I was going to say that I wanted entries from October onwards.But I assumed there wouldn't be that many pages for the ship I wanted.:rolleyes:

    The document I was looking at was BT 381/3593.

    How large are crew agreement documents for one ship and 1 year usually?

    Would find what I was looking for in BT 381/3593?

    Any advice with regard to researching my uncle further or what can be done about the estimte woud be greatly appreciated

  2. Owen

    Owen -- --- -.. MOD

    A few members of the forum charge alot less than that for copying documents at the archives.
    they come highly recommended by other members who have used them .
    I wouldnt suggest this if they were at all dodgey.
  3. Rich Payne

    Rich Payne Rivet Counter Patron 1940 Obsessive

    The NA's charges are difficult to fathom, considering that (or maybe because ) the rest of it is free and so accessible.

    If you can, it's well worth visiting as there is no substitute for handling original documents with a mention of a family member in.

    As an alternative, those on here who offer a copying service can photograph large quantities quickly but it takes longer to read the papers looking for relevant parts than it does to copy everything so it's a bit 'all or nothing'
  4. PsyWar.Org

    PsyWar.Org Archive monkey

    I can photograph a crew agreement for you for less than a tenner. There are usually a number of crew agreements per ship per box so TNA have probably quoted you for all them for Empire Plover.

    But even if I did all of them for you it would still be around a tenth what TNA have quoted you!

    Some details about what I do are here: Arcre - ARCRE - Frequently Asked Questions

    All the best,

  5. Hugh MacLean

    Hugh MacLean Senior Member

    Unfortunately Kew have changed the way they charge for MN records and the result is that they are basically ripping you off. BT 381/3593 will hold the crew agreements for EMPIRE PLOVER and a host of others for the whole of 1945. TNA view a request to look at this file as research and charge accordingly. You should always tell them what window you are looking to have copied but even then I wouldn't be surprised if they gave you a ridiculous quote.

    Can you tell me what records you already have before you go down the route of using crew agreements. If you wish to give me his full name, date and place of birth and I will tell you where you need to look to get what you need. Using crew agreements to trace your relations previous ships is what I would term the last resort. Of course it may come to that but only go there once every other route has been checked first.

    Once I have that information, Lee will do a good job for you in obtaining any records, should you wish to do so.

    CL1 likes this.
  6. jrf84

    jrf84 Junior Member

    I’m sorry for the late reply as I’ve been distracted with a lot of other things last week.

    Thanks for your kind offer to copy the crew agreement Lee I will contact your ARCRE service very shortly

    In answer to your queries Hugh,I have found out a certain amount of information about my great uncle,but I keep hitting brick walls with the research!

    The man in question was
    Alan Middleton b 11/12/1920 in Sheffield
    We have the seaman’s pouch documents from the NA BT 372/812/113
    This contained a photo of him holding board with a Discharge number R326081 which was edited to read R326186 in pen.There was also a National Sea Training school card which states he was discharged from there on 23rd Sept 1944.

    His MN ID card which has Tilbury stamps on it dated 22nd Sept 1944 and many ration cards issue dates.Are the ration cards significant?, I thought this might indicate that Alan was based in the UK

    We also have his CRS10 forms (BT382) BT 382/1218
    It is stated he was a Cook on his CRS10 form
    He was apparently given 2 Discharge numbers
    R326186 and R326081
    R326081 was cancelled on 13/9/1944 ,but the reason for this is not explained
    As you can see from the attached CRS10 reverse side,there is no ship mentioned by name until Empire Plover

    Apparently on the CRS 10 form,I think it states he was allocated to Home trade as part of the MNRP at Manchester from October 1944

    Apparently from other enquiries regarding whether any medals were unclaimed or awarded to him, The Registry Of Shipping and Seamen at Cardiff stated that they could not find anyone of that name in their medal roll there.I assume from that shows he was never given any.

    I now think he must have remained on vessels in UK waters for what was left of WW2
    I don’t know if his Discharge book was passed onto a relative of his after his wife died.We lost touch with the Myers family who were the recipients of the money and house contents after Alan’s widow died.

    Attached Files:

  7. Hugh MacLean

    Hugh MacLean Senior Member

    Firstly, the Discharge A. Number R326081 belongs to an A. Byrne, 19/6/1926, Liverpool. I suspect they realised the duplication and cancelled your great uncles number and allocated him a new one.

    You rightly state he has no ship prior to EMPIRE PLOVER so you are correct to go for the crew agreement. However, don't be surprised to find no previous ship or 'first ship'. The CRS 10 shows his time against the Merchant Navy Reserve Pool (MNRP). If he was on a ship the CRS 10 should show that BUT...we also know they were written up ashore by clerks and errors and omissions were common.

    Regarding medals, I have checked the BT 395 series and there is none showing as being claimed and as you have stated the Registry of Shipping and Seamen in Cardiff [RSS] say they have no entitlement for him. This means it is now up to his next of kin to prove that entitlement. For that you need evidence of sea service [time qualification] i.e. his CRS 10 [showing the ships] or his Discharge Book. You also need evidence of area qualification, i.e movement cards of his ships. These two pieces of evidence will determine what medals he was entitled to. The difficulty for you is that there is no ship mentioned prior to EMPIRE PLOVER.

    So to be sure you do need that crew agreement and if there is another ship mentioned you need to get the crew agreement for that and also the movement cards. Even a positive result there would not necessarily mean the RSS would accept these as evidence. My gut feeling is there will be no ship but I would be happy to be wrong on that.

  8. Ron Goldstein

    Ron Goldstein WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran

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